Saint Petersburg


Between Russia and France


Truffle House Bruno is a unique restaurant which opened in St. Petersburg exactly two years ago. For all that time the cuisine has been under the control of the French chef Dominique Saugnac, right-hand man of the Michelin-starred Clement Bruno, the “king of truffles” and the brains behind the project.

Monsieur Saugnac, what changes has the restaurant seen in that time, in your opinion? How much has the menu changed?

We all gathered here two years ago to introduce the public to a unique delicacy — truffles. And I think we have taken great leaps forward in that time and our whole team has evolved. As far as the menu is concerned, it will always include the classic dishes invented by Clement Bruno at his Chez Bruno restaurant in Lorgues. Having said that, we compile the menu according to a seasonal principle, using products that are available at the particular time of year: vegetables, fish, meat and poultry. I should add that we still lean towards local produce.

Do you see the influence of St. Petersburg’s atmosphere and traditions on the gastronomic side of your project?

Definitely. The influence of this city is very great. I am curious by nature — I am interested in new traditions… For example, our menu now includes classic Russian pelmeni filled with truffles. We have also introduced beef Stroganoff with morel mushrooms, champignons and meat sauce. It’s delicious! We even serve Russian borsch — inevitably with a hint of truffles. And we do not intend to stop there.

Have you worked out how many truffles have been consumed in your restaurant over those two years?

By my calculations, 200 kilos. But that does not compare with the restaurant in Lorgues, where they get through a minimum of 3,000 kilos a year.

Which dish is statistically the most popular at Truffle House Bruno?

In first place is the simplest dish imaginable: farm potatoes baked in the oven with a delicious truffle and cream sauce. That is also the top dish at Chez Bruno in Lorgues. Our customers also like the pelmeni and beef Stroganoff I mentioned, as well as the classic French dessert Crème Anglaise… I should point out that Russians love to develop gastronomically. In that respect you are very like the French — in your preferences in cuisine, especially when it comes to sauces.

Who is now the channel of your and Clement Bruno’s gastronomic ideas in the St. Petersburg restaurant? Why did you decide on that particular person?

The kitchen of the St. Petersburg restaurant is now the province of a young lady by the name of Anya. She has an excellent technique and knows all the French sauces. I work hand in hand with her. You could say that our joint work is an exchange of experience. Every time I come here we exchange ideas and come up with something new together. Our main task is to bring our customers joy and happiness. I repeat: we all gathered here to introduce the public to a rare delicacy — truffles.

Incidentally, which types of truffles are you serving at the moment, at the height of summer?

We are now using “summer” truffles, which are in season from May to October. They are truffles with a black crust and are grey and very aromatic inside (the main flavours are mushrooms and undergrowth). Also, in late June or early July a black truffle from Australia will appear on the menu. It is the equivalent of a French black truffle.

What is your favourite food and wine to accompany truffles?

I love baked potatoes with tender truffle cream and crispy truffle salt. And an interesting accompaniment to that dish would be a white Sancerre or Corton-Charlemagne. I would also recommend a red Burgundy with that dish, but I should point out that every wine in our wine list blends perfectly with any of our dishes.

If a visitor to St. Petersburg asked you why he should definitely go to Truffle House Bruno, what would you tell him?

No matter how far a visitor has travelled to this city he should definitely come to our restaurant. In the first place, to discover the uniqueness of truffles and, in the second place, to sample our combination of Russian and French cuisine — to try, for example, quintessentially Russian dishes prepared in the French style and including truffles. It will certainly be a new and pleasant experience for a visitor.

Where St.Petersburg

August 2019

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